Business

Recession will shrink Greece by 25%

Wednesday, September 19, 2012    

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ATHENS, Greece - Greece's economy will have contracted by 25 per cent by the time the recession ends, the finance minister said yesterday, as the government remained locked in talks with rescue lenders for its next major austerity programme.

Yannis Stournaras made the remarks at a Greek-Chinese business forum, before senior officials from his ministry resumed negotiations with inspectors from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, known as the "troika."

"The cumulative reduction (of gross domestic product) since 2008 is just under 20 per cent and is expected to reach 25 per cent by 2014," Stournaras said.

Unpaid government bills and other debts to the private sector have reached (euro) 6.5 billion ($760 billion), he said.

The troika is demanding the government reduce its budget deficit by more than (euro) 11.5 billion over two years as a condition for continued emergency loan payments.

Earlier yesterday, Greece raised (euro) 1.3 billion in a treasury bill auction, with the rate for the 13-week loans easing slightly to 4.31 per cent.

The government's Public Debt Management Agency said the sale of (euro) 1 billion in debt was oversubscribed 1.98 times, and the additional (euro) 300 million was raised in non-competitive bids.

The interest rate eased from 4.43 per cent set at a T-Bill auction last month.

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